Golden Skate

Kim takes gold with record score

Yu-na Kim of South Korea set a new world record for the Ladies Long Program with a score of 133.70 points.

Yu-Na Kim of South Korea easily won the gold in the Ladies, distancing herself from the rest by more than 24 points.

Japan’s Yukari Nakano won the silver, while Joannie Rochette of Canada captured the bronze.

Not only did Kim win the gold, she set a new world record for the ladies long with a personal best of 133.70 points.

The 17-year-old’s skating was so soft and fluid that only judges felt necessary to nitpick on the minor details, giving her a -0.20 Grade of Execution (GOE) for a somewhat tight landing of her second triple Lutz.

“Some jumps felt shaky and I worried about it,” Kim later admitted, “but I got a new personal best and I qualified for the Grand Prix Final.”

However, two judges went as far as to award her +3 GOE for her opening triple flip-triple combination, which simply floated through the air. While the choreography of her new routine to music from the Miss Saigon soundtrack wasn’t as complex as the one she had last year, the 2007 World bronze medalist’s skating was so exquisite that it captivated the audience.

“I got my highest score,” said Kim, “but there are still points that I can improve and I will work harder.”

Rochette improved her performance from 2007 Skate Canada with a new personal best of 119.35 (64.71/54.64) points, but once again made mistakes on her final jumping elements.

In Moscow, she put her hand down on the second jump of her both her triple toeloop-triple Salchow sequence and double Axel-double Axel sequence , but overall got credit for landing seven triple jumps in her routine to selections of music by Félix Gray.

The complexity of her choreography was unmatched by anyone else and she gave a truly commanding performance, expressing the character of her music perfectly and executing several jumps from very little set up.

With a total score of 172.77 points after placing second in the long, the 2007 Four Continents bronze medalist rose from fifth to third place overall.

“I am very happy to pull up today, because I was far behind,” said the 21-year-old. “I gave a strong performance in the free skating. The short program has been a bit harder for me this season, because I am trying new elements.”

Nakano finished third in the long with 112.27 (57.15/55.12) points despite landing a clean triple Axel right in the beginning. The technical panel, however, considered two of her triple jumps underrotated and she also received a negative GOE for using the wrong edge for the take-off on a triple Lutz.

The Japanese bronze medalist also lacked the Spanish character in her performance to Capriccio Espagnol by Nikolai Rimski-Korsakov, but showed very impressive spins, including the final donut spin which she held for quite a few rotations.

With a total score of 172.77 points, the 22-year-old was able to maintain second overall.

I am very happy to have landed my triple Axel and to have qualified for the Grand Prix Final,” Nakano later commented.

Kiira Korpi of Finland slipped to fourth place overall (154.26) after she doubled several jumps and fell on her triple flip attempt. Despite a fourth place finish in the long (96.04 points), her performance to Phantasia was elegant and feminine and earned the 2007 European bronze medalist high presentation scores.

Nina Petushkova of Russia moved up from ninth to sixth place overall (138.79 points) after a fifth place finish in the long (94.09 points). The student of Zhanna Gromova landed all of her five planned triple jumps, but her routine to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons lacked complex choreography and character.

Since joining Gromova’s group, however, the 21-year-old has already made a marked improvement in her attention to lines and posture. So there is hope that this impressive Senior debut will be followed up with even better skating in the future.

Japan’s Fumie Suguri slipped to fifth place overall (148.15 points) after making mistakes on several jumps in her somewhat tentative performance. The 2006 World silver medalist earned 91.91 (42.77/49.20) points for a sixth place finish in the long.

Julia Sebestyen of Hungary finished seventh overall (134.98 points), followed by USA’s Beatrisa Liang (134.60 points).

Kim earned another 15 points from her win in Moscow to add to the 15 she picked up in China. She easily qualified for the Grand Prix Final (GPF) which will be held Dec. 13-16, 2007, in Torino, Italy.

Nakano, who now has a total of 26, will join her in Torino.

Rochette earned 11 points in Moscow, and now has a total of 22.

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